Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some Post-Papacy Questions are Getting Answered

Who wore what at the Oscars? Who cares! The real questions are what will the "retired" pope wear and how do you address him if you run into him at your favorite coffee shop? The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has brought with it an onslaught of questions regarding small details. Some of the questions are beginning to be answered and I have posted some of the more interesting ones below. I will add to this post as new and interesting facts pass by my in box so check back often.

What will the the title of Pope Benedict after resignation?
"Pope-Emeritus". The titles "His Holiness Benedict XVI", and "Roman Pontiff Emeritus" will also be appropriate.

How would one formally address him?
"His Holiness, Pope-Emeritus..."

What will happen to his Papal ring which bears the seal of the papacy?
It will be destroyed, just as it would at the death of a pope, marking the end of the this pope's authority and to keep it from possibly being used for forgery. He will resume wearing the episcopal ring he wore when he was simply "Cardinal Ratzinger."

Will the Pope change the conclave rules in this unusual situation?
Yes. Click here for the text of the February 25 Muto Proprio.

When will the conclave begin?
this is not yet determined. Most are saying it will begin between March 9th and 15th or 2013. Stay tuned for updates.

What will the "retired" Holy Father wear?
He will continue to wear the white signature clothing of the papal office without the white cape that covers the shoulders. He will wear simple brown shoes he received from Leon, Mexico rather than the ruby red shoes we are accustomed to see him in. The picture above should be pretty close. Baseball hat is optional ;-)

Is there a ceremony at 8:00 PM on Thursday when he officially resigns?
Not exactly. There will be a symbolic moment as the Swiss Guards at teh gates of Castel Gandolfo will leave their stations. Their role of guarding Pope Benedict will end at that time since he will stop being pope at that moment. Vatican Police will continue the regular responsibility of ensuring safety at the Vatican.

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